Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 26, 2017

in Reality Is Not Optional, Virginia Political Economy

… is from pages 49-50 of my colleague Richard Wagner’s 2016 book, Politics as a Peculiar Business:

Following the Faust-type legend that has been repeated in many forms over the millennia, government entails doing something bad to achieve what the actor regards as a greater good.  In the liberal political setting, government entails the use of an instrument of evil, the imposition of force over people, in the hope or presumption that damage done by the force will fall short of the good that is done.

DBx: Among the many risks of such a bargain with the devil is that power does indeed tend to corrupt.  Power also gives to those who possess it an easy ability to enchant others to the point of delirium.  Whether you regard this bargain with the devil to be worthwhile or, like me, believe it to be foolish, you mustn’t ever lose sight of the fact that government operates by violence and credible threats of violence.  Nothing about the state is sweet, gentle, enlightened, or progressive.  Even in its highest and most advanced form, the state remains base and primitive – and devilish.

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